Why We Tell Stories

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Why We Tell Stories

As many will probably tell you stories have existed even before humans created language. It seems every day as humans we learn, discover, or create a new story, whether small or epic. Stories have existed in society for millions of years, even before there was society. They range anywhere from Harry Potter to something funny that happened at school, from the Bible to the daily news. Stories are everywhere, whether factual or fictional, whether long or short, English or Greek; there is no limit to the way in which stories can be told. In stories we explore many things, we explain phenomena, things we can't comprehend. We search for meaning and truth. We search for comedy or drama. We crave for action or horror. The entire spectrum of why we tell stories cannot be covered in a 2-3 page paper, thus I will condense it to the reasons that I declare are the most important. To begin, stories teach us how to deal with suffering, loss, and death. It is most likely that at some point in our lives we will encounter any of the three tragedies mentioned above. Stories which contain similar occurrences will instantly appeal to us. We learn from other's experiences how to better deal with a sorrowing event that has occurred in our own lives. According to Scott Russell Sanders, "Those who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death tell stories as a way of fending off despair." (Sanders 54) Thus stories can be a form of therapy for both the storytellers and the listeners. Certain aspects of this brand of stories can give us comfort and hope; such as when a characters pulls through his/her conflict. For example, "… and they lived happily ever after.", this classic ending, "expresses a deep longing not only for happiness, but also for ever-afterness, for an assure that life as well as happiness will endure, that it will survive all challenges, perhaps even the grave." (Sanders 54). The feeling that life will end well is comforting and hopeful to...
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